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Meet Your City: Our Sharing Economy

Artwork by Miguel Jose Matos

 

Call it what you want — sharing, gifting, being neighborly — increasingly Hartford residents are showing interest in no-strings-attached giving, the kind you might not be able to write off on your taxes.

There are at least seven Little Free Libraries throughout the city that facilitate the giving and taking of books without time limits, late fees, or proof of identification. On Laurel Street (a few houses north of the intersection with Hawthorne Street) there’s a food pantry that operates similarly; anyone can donate food items and anyone can pick up, day or night, without any kind of hassle. It’s becoming less rare to find knit scarves and mittens tied to trees and fences downtown with messages encouraging people to go ahead and take them. Keep Hartford Warm collects and distributes winter clothing items to those in need.

Now, residents of some Hartford neighborhoods have another way to give and receive. The Buy Nothing Project, with its new group currently open to those living in Downtown, Frog Hollow, South Green, and the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhoods, provides the opportunity for people to ask with no obligation to give. Jane Macy-Painter, the admin of this hyper-local group, says she learned about the Buy Nothing Project’s larger network “and realized there wasn’t one local to the city.”

On the surface it may seem like the group has a million rules, but what it comes down to is be local, be an adult, and give without expectation of anything in return — whether that means money or barter. Continue reading “Meet Your City: Our Sharing Economy”

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A Fascist By Any Other Name is Still a Shithole

On December 30th, I received a press release that gave me chills.

The sender declined to use his full name, and I responded that I have a policy of not running any material from people with white hoods covering their faces anonymous sources. There were no photographs attached, no evidence that anything actually happened. Without that, I wondered if what they stated was true or if a gutless troll was trying to get a rise out of me. Since the individual did not respond to my request that he validate his identity, I went on with my life. Until now.

Video has emerged:

By seeing that video, I have learned that the color of the hoods has changed, but the sentiment remains, embedded in dog-whistles. In this case, the fascists “European American men” grasped at any flimsy excuse to rally, and here, they contorted ongoing juvenile scribbles to suit their cause.

So, let’s look at their press release: Continue reading “A Fascist By Any Other Name is Still a Shithole”

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Scenes from the Sidewalk: It’s This Kind of Place

Spotted on some walls in downtown Hartford

Continue reading “Scenes from the Sidewalk: It’s This Kind of Place”

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Meet Your City: Create, Stand, Laugh (Jan 2018)

CREATE
MakeHartford, a makerspace at 30 Arbor Street, is offering an Intro to Screenprinting class. Learn the basics of setting up the screen, creating a design on it, and then painting that design on patches, t-shirts, and cards. If you’ve never done this, it’s fun and kind of messy — dress for the occasion. There is a $20 fee, which if you know anything about prices for workshops/classes, is on the low side. Bring something (a t-shirt) to print on. Register online to take this class on January 22. If snow/ice happens, the class may be rescheduled for February 5, 2018.

STAND
In 2018 renew your commitment to social justice by showing up to Bushnell Park and the Connecticut State Capitol grounds on January 20, 2018 for the second annual Women’s March. Event organizers say: “We march to support each other and remind ourselves that we are not alone. We march to send a clear message that the Trump administration has no mandate. We march to organize and pledge to continue to work for a better future. It will also be part of a national voter registration and mobilization tour targeting swing states to register new voters, engage impacted communities, harness our collective energy to advocate for policies and candidates that reflect our values and collaborate with our partners to elect more women and progressives candidates to office.” Start brainstorming ideas for your DIY signs (or capes), or dig out the poster board from last year. Gather at Corning Fountain at 12:30 pm if you feel like marching, or go right to the Capitol at 1 pm. In the market for a pussy hat? Check out the discussion section of the event page on Facebook.

LAUGH
Kate Huffman
will be coming to Sea Tea Comedy Theater on January 4-6, 2018 to perform her solo show I’m Too Fat for This Show, providing an “opportunity for all people with obsessions, neuroticism, or negative self-talk to laugh at themselves.” Julia Pistell, the Managing Director of Sea Tea Comedy Theater, calls this “an award-winning, absolutely excellent one-woman comedy show about mental health, body image, eating disorders, and feminism.”  Tickets are $20.

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Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2017

It’s a new era. This calls for new categories and a new format.

Here it is: 2017, judged.

Killing It

 

The Resistance: When life hands you a shitshow, make lemonade?

On a national and local level, we have witnessed people affirming humanity in a time when behaving badly is rewarded. There have been numerous rallies and marches calling for inclusivity and speaking against fascism. Hartford stood by immigrants in our community. People even gathered in airports to support immigrants, refugees, and Muslims. The Connecticut State Capitol lawn overflowed with an estimated 10,000 activists supporting women’s rights. A smaller contingent marched and rallied for reproductive rights on a much colder day. The community called out the Trump administration’s backlash against science by gathering in the rain, holding signs that read “Science. Because you can’t just make shit up!” In April, when people might have preferred to mark the tax deadline by hitting the bar, folks showed up to demand Trump release his tax returns.

In all of this, we have seen displays of creativityresilience, and hope. Continue reading “Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2017”

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December 2017 Events

December 1

  • Free ice skating and skate rentals at the rink in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.
  • Frenchie Friday: from 5-7 pm at Naturally Dogs & Cats (10 Trumbull Street). They say: “Ho ho ho! Santa Paws is coming to town on December 1st and he’ll be hanging out at Naturally Dogs and Cats LLC! Since we know there are no such things as naughty Frenchies, I’m sure he’ll have some special treats for all the nice pups that come to visit. All dogs are welcome, and we’ll be taking donations for the French Bulldog Rescue Network, so come hang out!
  • St. Lucia Festival: Emanuel Lutheran Church (311 Capitol Avenue) will be hosting its 104th St. Lucia Festival. Tickets are $5 adults and $3 children, available at the door. 5 and 8 pm.
  • Winged Eyes, Thick Thighs: Free workshop for women at Tainted, Inc. (56 Arbor Street, Suite 310A), 6-7 pm. They say: “It’s time to feel empowered and sexy in your body. Self-expression is a way to create your own identity. On the path to self-love, one of the first steps is to walk in your power and feel comfortable in every move that you make. You don’t need to be a dancer to gain the benefits of movement. This body-positive dance class will help you feel powerful in every inch of your skin. Let us help you connect to your body and create art by using movement.”
  • Full Moon Meditation: Free mediation at Hartford Mindfulness Center (645 Farmington Avenue), 6:30-7:30 pm.
  • World AIDS Day: Commemorate World AIDS Day with a concert by the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus at Wadsworth Atheneum. Reception at 6:30 pm; performance at 7:30 pm. Free.
  • David Stoltz & Friends give a free jazz performance at The Flying Monkey (20 Lindbergh Drive), 7-10 pm.
  • Fall Dance, Embodied Voices: Honoring Judy Dworin — a free and public dance production at Trinity College beginning at 7:30 pm. This will be in the Austin Arts Center. They say: “This fall dance performance honors Trinity College Professor of Theater and Dance Emerita Judy Dworin, a 1970 alumna of Trinity. Dworin established the Dance Program, co-founded the Trinity/La MaMa Performing Arts Semester in New York City, and chaired the Department of Theater and Dance at Trinity for many years. The Trinity student dancers in this performance are Katie Haynes ’21, Rachel Fox ’21, Claire Quigley ’18, and Samantha McAward ’21. Admission to the performance is free, though tickets are required. For tickets and more information, please call the Austin Arts Center Box Office at (860) 297-2199.”
  • Hip Hop for the Homeless: show starts at Chango Rosa (Union Place), 8 pm. Bring clothing and canned food to donate.

December 2

  • Through Their Eyes Conference: This workshop will include discussion of “conversion therapy” and equality for LGBTQIA+ people in places of worship. To be held at Center Church (60 Gold Street), 9 am – 12 pm. Free.
  • Get some trees and wreaths without leaving Hartford. Go see what the Chrysalis Center (255 Homestead Avenue) has in stock, 9 am – 2 pm.
  • Free admission to the Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth Street) museum galleries, 9 am – 5 pm.
  • Free ice skating lessons, 10-11 am, at the rink in Bushnell Park.
  • Last chance to see “The Memories Between, Women of Nobility” at the ArtWalk Gallery inside of Hartford Public Library.
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals at the rink in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.
  • State Visit to Hartford by Marcus and Amy Garvey: 12 pm at Trinity College Downtown Campus (10 Constitution Plaza — enter at State Street between Market Street and and Columbus Blvd.). They say: “The Marcus Garvey Popular Theatre Project is coming from the Caribbean to Hartford—home to one of the largest West Indian and Caribbean populations in the United States—to perform a State Visit to Hartford by Marcus and Amy Garvey. The theatrical and educational project is designed to help people explore and reflect on the history and legacy of Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey (1887–1940), who initiated a movement dedicated to black racial pride and economic self-sufficiency.” This is a free, public event that includes meal and discussion.
  • Civic Ambassadors Summit: Hartford Public Library is hosting this free event (lunch included), 12-4:30 pm. They say: “Get the tools you need to create positive change in your community! Become part of the movement that is engaging residents across the state. Every voice counts– we need yours! Civic action leads to real socioeconomic benefits– this summit can get you started, or help you be even more effective on the road to change.” Registration required.
  • Hartford Bluegrass Pickin’ Party: Come play, come listen. 3-5 pm at Real Art Ways (56 Arbor Street). Free admission. While you’re there, check out the tag sale.

December 3

  • The Chrysalis Center (255 Homestead Avenue) will be selling wreaths and trees, 9 am – 2 pm.
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals at the rink in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.
  • BPM: a discussion with Shawn Lang follows the screening of BPM at Real Art Ways (56 Arbor Streets), 1 pm. Admission: $11, with some discounts.
  • The Auburn Mode performs at Hog River Brewing Company (1429 Park Street), 4-7 pm. Free admission.
  • Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols: If you’ve never been inside the Trinity College Chapel, you owe it to yourself to check it out, regardless of religious belief or affiliation. They say: “The service includes music of the season offered by the Chapel Singers – the oldest continuing student group on campus – the Trinity College Gospel Choir, and the Trinity African Choir. The music this year is directed for the first time by Christopher Houlihan ’09, newly appointed College Organist and Director of Chapel Music. A brass quintet and timpani joins the choirs, and Vaughn Mauren ’07 accompanies on organ. Trinity College warmly invites the public to attend the free event. A freewill offering will be taken.” You have two chances to listen: 4 and 7 pm.
  • Sea Tea Improv’s Family Show: This is at 15 Asylum Street, 5 pm. They say: “Our improv comedy show is interactive, with chances for kids and adults alike to shout out suggestions and even opportunities to volunteer to play some improv games with us on stage! The comedy is all-ages — kids and adults will have a lot to laugh about.
    Kids age 12 and under are just $5!
    ” Adults: $10.
  • Syllable: The reading series continues at Little River Restoratives (405 Capitol Avenue), 6:30-8:30 pm. Free admission.
  • Cinestudio (300 Summit Street) is screening 2001: A Space Odyssey, projected in 70mm film. They say: “Order your tickets early for a rare chance to see one of critics’ Top Ten films, that set the standard for any futuristic movie that followed. Only Kubrick had the audacity to begin and end his movie with 20 dialogue-free minutes – as hominids discover a mysterious monolith, and as the sole surviving astronaut on a mission to Jupiter (Keir Dullea) takes a journey to the infinite. The genius of 2001 is everywhere: its use of classical music, its amazing (non CGI) FX, its sentient computer operating system (HAL), and its ability to make space as absolutely terrifying as it is beautiful.” 7:30 pm. General admission: $10.

December 4

  • Free ice skating and skate rentals at the rink in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.
  • Asylum Hill Congregational Church (814 Asylum Avenue) will be offering a Service of Remembrance and Healing, 7-8 pm.
  • Cinestudio (300 Summit Street) is screening 2001: A Space Odyssey, projected in 70mm film. They say: “Order your tickets early for a rare chance to see one of critics’ Top Ten films, that set the standard for any futuristic movie that followed. Only Kubrick had the audacity to begin and end his movie with 20 dialogue-free minutes – as hominids discover a mysterious monolith, and as the sole surviving astronaut on a mission to Jupiter (Keir Dullea) takes a journey to the infinite. The genius of 2001 is everywhere: its use of classical music, its amazing (non CGI) FX, its sentient computer operating system (HAL), and its ability to make space as absolutely terrifying as it is beautiful.” 7:30 pm. General admission: $10.
  • Stand-Up Comedy Open Mic: There’s a $5 cover to watch or perform; performers get a drink ticket. Sign up at 7:30. Show begins at 8 pm.

Continue reading “December 2017 Events”

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Meet Your City: Holiday Giving Guide

“My Precious Stones” at Connecticut Historical Society during Open Studio Hartford

You could hit the big box stores for all kinds of cheaply-made, totally forgettable gadgets, but why?

Shopping

  • Open Studio Hartford: November 11 & 12, 11 am – 5 pm — Shop arts and crafts at nineteen venues within Hartford, many of which are accessible by free shuttle. Goods include ceramics, wood sculpture, photography, drawings, paintings, hand-woven rugs, letterpress prints, jewelry, tattoos, henna art, quilts, and more. See the program for times and venue locations.
  • Crafted: November 19, 12-5 pm. — Basically, this is a craft fair at 30 and 56 Arbor Street. There are (at time of publication) around 20 local businesses committed to participating in this.
  • Art + Soul: December 10, 11 am – 5 pm. — This is a holiday craft fair intended to benefit Protectors of Animals, a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter in East Hartford. So far, there are almost 20 vendors signed up for this event at 555 Asylum Street. There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door.

Other Giving

  • MakeHartford: December 19, 6:30 – 8:30 pm. — Meet up for a fiber arts-focused crafting night at 30 Arbor Street. Bring in any project you are working on — crocheting, knitting, spinning, weaving, sewing, embroidery, kumihimo, knotting, braiding — to request help or just have company. Some supplies will be available in exchange for a donation. There will specifically be supplies available for those who want to make fleece scarves that will be donated to local shelters.
  • The Open Hearth: This shelter at 437 Sheldon Street accepts donations of men’s winter coats, hats, interview outfits, and more.
  • ImmaCare: The emergency shelter accepts men’s and women’s clothing, food, medication, and other donations. The offices are located at 168 Hungerford Street.
  • Hartford Catholic Worker: Located at 18 Clark Street, year-round they collect baby supplies (formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, clothes, and toys.) for distribution to families in the neighborhood, along with books for their Little Free Library, and items (tuna, canned soup, pasta sauce) for the food pantry.

What other opportunities for giving exist in Hartford this year?

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Meet Your City: It’s Autumn. What Now?

Why live in New England if you aren’t even going to try to do some seasonal things? That does not mean getting “dressed like a fashion blogger” and creating staged moments for Instagram. Here are a few suggestions:

Night Fall
This is a free, annual outdoor performance that marks the change in seasons. It rotates to a different Hartford park each year and is one of those true community events where the hours before the show are as much about socializing with friends and neighbors as they are about buying snacks and claiming your blanket space. I’m going to go right ahead and take a guess that after the horrors in Vegas over the weekend, we can all benefit from more time connecting with others. There is dancing and giant puppets. It may look like an event for children on the surface, but I would not go so far as to categorize it that way. If you are an adult showing up without kids, you won’t be looked at as a creeper. Night Fall is in Bushnell Park on October 7 this year.

Elizabeth Park

Get a chaider
Kick those basic seasonal beverages to the curb. Continue reading “Meet Your City: It’s Autumn. What Now?”

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October 2017 Events in Hartford

At a loss? Go take a walk. This is the best time of year for that kind of thing.

October 1

  • Head of the Riverfront Regatta: It costs nothing to watch rowing at Riverside Park, 8:30 am – 5 pm.
  • CT Rally for Racial Justice: This meets in front of City Hall at 2 pm. Participants will march from there to Vernon and Broad Streets.
  • Syllable: Starting at 7 pm, listen to readings from Amity Gaige, Jamil Ragland, Julie Choffel, Kathy Czepiel, and Alycia Jenkins. This is at Little River Restoratives (405 Capitol Avenue). No cover.

October 2

  • Industry Night returns to Little River Restoratives (405 Capitol Avenue), starting at 6 pm. All are welcome. There will be a DJ and all day happy hour.
  • The Hartford Jazz Orchestra performs at Arch Street Tavern, 8-9 pm. Free.

Continue reading “October 2017 Events in Hartford”

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